Home to 23 million inhabitants and almost eight million square kilometers, Australia is the preferred destination for water sport enthusiasts, wildlife lovers and adventure seekers from all over the world. White shimmery beaches, dark green forests and majestic orange deserts shape the landscape of a country that combines cosmopolitan ambitions with the conservation of its astounding and unique nature. Australia seems to have the vibrating energy of a young and eclectic society, yet this land of savage beauty, wide horizons and ancient aboriginal cultures has much more to offer. From the rough north to the populated south, Australia is a land to return to. Deciding what to visit is one of the most challenging decisions when traveling to Australia. Sydney and the east coast are a perennially popular choice, attracting millions of tourist every year, but there is an endless number of equally bewitching itineraries in all areas of the country.
But if there is one side of Australia that no intrepid traveller should miss is beauty of the iconic Australian fauna, with endemic species like platypus and koalas among many others. You can enjoy the great natural diversity of this land on the natural park of Phillip Island, or discovering the ancient rainforest of Strahan by cruising down the Gordon River. From the Great Barrier Reef to the busy terraces of Melbourne, Australia seems to hold a universe within its borders, inviting the traveler for an introspective journey of self discovery. With so much to see, the best way to appreciate the matchless charm of Australia is to hit the road. Car hires are affordable compared to other travelling options and road conditions are generally good, allowing you to explore the whole island at your own rhythm.
All visitors travelling to Australia need to apply for an Australian visa through the website of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. There are five different visas for Australia, depending on your nationality and the length of your stay. For short stays,European passport holders are eligible for a free eVisitor visa that allow you to stay in the country for up to three months during a 12 month period. This type of visas must be applied for online with at least two weeks notice prior to the proposed date of travel. The parallel alternative for American and Canadian visitors, is the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA, 601). ETA’s must be applied for online through the Australian Department of Immigration and have a cost of US$20. If you wish to extend your travel visa for Australia once you are inside the country, you are required to apply for an Australian Visitor visa that has an approximate cost of US$335. Make sure you apply for this type of visa with at least three weeks notice, as the application process can be long and complex.